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Inside Newsday's NBA positional rankings

Dallas Mavericks power forward Dirk Nowitzki reacts after

Dallas Mavericks power forward Dirk Nowitzki reacts after a play in the second half. (Feb. 17, 2012) Credit: AP

As the 2012-13 NBA season approaches, Newsday's Knicks beat writer Al Iannazzone, Nets beat writer Roderick Boone and your fearless Double Dribble leader teamed up to formulate a composite ranking of the top players at each position in the league.

Each of us submitted a list of our top 10 players at each position. Then, using the same point system used by the AP for its college football poll (in our case, 10 points for a first place vote, nine points for a second place vote, and so on until one point for a 10th place vote), came up with a definitive list of the top players by position.

Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dirk Nowitzki and Dwight Howard came out on top in their respective positions. Paul, Bryant, James and Howard were all unanimous No. 1 selections; Nowitzki received first place votes from Iannazzone and Boone, but a third place vote from me.

Other interesting figures from the rankings:

- Six teams had at least four players receive at least one vote: the Celtics, Heat, Timberwolves and Nets (4), and the Lakers and Thunder (5).

- Derrick Rose was ranked as high as second, but was also left off one ballot (Boone's). He may miss the entire 2012-13 NBA season with an injury sustained during the playoffs.

- Tim Duncan was ranked fourth on both Iannazzone and Boone's ballots, but was left off my ballot.

- Aside from Brandon Roy and Andrei Kirilenko, who both didn't appear in an NBA game last season, Kendrick Perkins (8.7) had the lowest PER of any player to appear on a ballot. He was ranked eighth among centers by Boone.

- Serge Ibaka ($2.2 million) will make the least amount of money in 2012-13 out of anybody to receive a vote. Boone ranked him eighth among power forwards.

- Roy Hibbert was the only player to appear on all three ballots, but not wind up in his position's top 10. He was the 11th-ranked center in the composite rankings.

- The top upcoming free agents at each position were Paul (first among point guards), James Harden (third among shooting guards), Andre Iguodala (sixth among small forwards), Josh Smith (eighth among power forwards) and Dwight Howard (first among centers).

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